• Pinstripe

Taking to the Skies

You know, one thing I've always wanted in Hogs of War is the ability to jump into a plane and fight up their in the clouds. Way back in 1998/99 the Hogs development team did actually begin playing around with this idea, as the initial design document wanted the player to be able use the likes of Biplanes, Troop Transports and a variety of Battleships to assist them in their own endeavors on the battlefield.

[The Original Hogs Biplane Design]

Sadly though, that idea went out the window quite earlier, as it became clear that the physics engine Hogs was running on just wasn't up to the job. Instead we were left with solely ground based vehicles, two of which are entirely stationary. Tanks, Pillboxes, Artilleries, Trucks, Ducks and Aqua Tanks are all that remains of that once ambitions idea. Call me bitter, but perhaps I'd complain less if Tanks were actually used more than once throughout the singleplayer campaign.. and don't even get me started on Aqua Tanks!

No, when it comes to vehicles - Hogs kind of misses the mark a bit. When you look at the game from an outside perspective, when you see the artwork, cutscenes and trailers- there is a slight anticipation for that combination of land, sea and air vehicles. Yet things get pretty stale when you see that airship animation for the 100th time! And all this got me thinking - what if we took the Hogs of War universe and moved it into the sky? What if I could combine Hogs with the Ace Combat/Heroes of the Pacific dogfighting style game? Creating mods of the original game is one thing, but creating a brand new game from scratch is a completely different ballpark.

Hogs of War: Rise of the Coalition is my attempt at exactly that. I'd previously tinkered around with the Unreal Engine, but over time found that my current PC hardware wasn't entirely up for the task. So I quickly turned my attention to Unity, scouring the internet for a 'Dogfighting game tutorial' in order to get started. And I did eventually find something, but then after a month of struggling to understand the idea of AI waypoints and C++ scripts (that and breaking my scene several times which caused me to have to restart) I became bored with where the project currently sat. As you've probably guessed by now - I'm not a programmer, so if I wanted something complicated done in engine I simply couldn't do it myself.

So instead of muttering insults to myself, I decided to go back to the drawing board and began drafting up what the entire game would actually be. The background, the lore, the missions, the story, the characters - everything that would and could be shown and told to the player. Just as I'd done with my Hogs Mods, the main ambition with this game would be to create a story that players can still relate to in regards to the setting, the teams and characters, but from an entirely new and fresh perspective. Though I don't want to give everything away, the story is essentially a prequel to the event of Pin's Mod v4.0, but it would be a story that all players could still follow even if they had never played the mod. So in essence it would be a prequel to the event of the original Hogs game, but instead of turn based action on the ground - we'd be shifting to real time action in the sky. We'd also be shifting teams as well, as this game is intended to be played from the perspective of Team Lard (in this case Lardinia) as their islands of Saustralasia are invaded by the Evil Coalition forces, who subsequently are made up of all the other nations.

[Team Logo Designs]

[Player's Biplane]

The game will draw upon the standard elements you'd expect to see in a dogfighting game. Air vs Air, Air vs Sea and Air vs Ground battles will feature throughout, with (hopefully) the player being able to choose and somewhat customise their biplane before takeoff. Hogs of War is set during the First World War, but its aesthetic and details also drew from World War 2 elements, which is basically what I'm doing here.

A few weeks ago my PC's graphics card eventually broke down and died, and so while I waited for the new one to be delivered I decided to utilise my time and gain an insight into how dogfighting games tend to structure their missions. In doing so I was able to plan out my own Demo accordingly, which will essentially showcase the first mission of the game. Despite the huge mountain this project is turning into, I continue to set my sights low in finishing this Demo. Sure I can come up with a good mission idea or something to add to the story here or there, but ultimately I don't want to get bogged down so early on. The last thing I want to do is get burnt out before at least creating something I can be proud of.

As I mentioned in last months community squealer article, I have no idea how far I intend to take this project or how far it can actually go if I decide try and create a full game out of it. All of this is stemming from my passion for video games and a wanting to expand the Hogs of War Universe. In many ways this project is driven by me telling myself - 'yes, you do have the ability to create a video game by yourself!' Why? Because its good to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Hogs brought me into the world of video games and even now, 21 years later, it still continues to help develop my skills and drive my passions. Keep your eyes on the skies lads, for soon it'll be time for takeoff!

12 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All